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The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

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I'll be honest, my personal experience has beenQuite BrightHistory/Histories (art history/etc.)
I'll be honest, my personal experience has been pretty positive BUT that does not mean MCLA is without its faults. I had to make an active effort to get involved with something and by doing so it opened up a lot of doors for me on campus. Joining any club/student activity and building your social circle is really, really important at such a small school.

I agree that RPS and the food served here is lacking, to say the least. The professors care, though, and if more money and time were put into listening to us and the faculty, and improving the campus overall I think it would be way better here. Certain parts of the administration aren't great, but individually many of them are working hard to keep the school running, even if higher-ups aren't really that appreciative or helpful.

One of the major complaints I hear is the lack of nightlife. This isn't the school's fault, not really. MCLA is in North Adams, which is an old mill town with a very unsteady future as it is. That being said you can still have fun and find parties. I would suggest getting used to smaller-scale parties if you're used to big ones because those are very common here. You'll find that the bigger ones happen on Blackington, or in the Boardman townhouses near campus, but honestly, the smaller ones are worth way more to me. Students are also making more of an effort now to make the campus more exciting BUT this relies just as much on you actively participating in campus events when they happen. There are some restaurants around town, they're a "don't look and you'll miss them" kind of thing. The town isn't that dangerous either, the crime stats were interpreted incorrectly and a lot of crime here is within homes (domestic violence, etc) and drug abuse. Typical for rural areas. You'll want access to a car at some point, even if it's carpooling with friends, this is the Berkshires and transportation is a problem everywhere, not just in relation to MCLA.

I'm not big into Greek Life so I can't really say much on that. I suggest accepting that it offers the same positives and negatives of Greek Life in other places.

Dorms are alright, the elevators are ALWAYS broken in Hoosac Hall though. I lived in Berkshire Towers during my first year and it lived up to its reputation as the quieter of the dorm halls. It's definitely more private, but I don't know that much about Hoosac living. I live in a townhouse now and I enjoy it overall and wouldn't be able to go back to living in BT. The decoration inside is dated and I feel like they need some type of renovation, but good otherwise. RPS is a huge pain the neck, you'll get used to it.

The food is bad, which is why a lot of upperclassmen will tell you to eat wisely. It used to be even worse, according to some, but it's still not that great. I have my own dietary issues but asking around you'll find that everybody has a problem with the dining services. I'm pretty sure I lost a couple of pounds as opposed to gaining some during my first year. Living in a townhouse means you have access to a kitchen, and dorm rooms come with a micro-fridge (microwave w a mini fridge) so do take advantage of that if you can. The pizza's ok, depends on who's cooking it. Breakfast ALWAYS makes me sick, god knows why.

The faculty is great, I've never had a personal issue with any of them, but ask around, some are known for being difficult (this goes for any college). The history department isn't huge here but I think that all of the professors in it are helpful, understanding, and clearly know what they're talking about. As you progress here try to get to know some of the faculty, it offers opportunities you wouldn't otherwise get.

Theatre kids, this is for you: The performing clubs on campus are Harlequinne (musical theatre), Yorick (Shakespeare, shamelessly plugging it, it's very fun and not pretentious), Dance Company, and Nexxus (step team, dance). The FPA department is OK, there are some very biased professors within it who I would be mindful of. You might get along fantastically or you might really not, it's hard to say, but they definitely have a reputation. FPA and the performing clubs sometimes conflict. I think if we had more space on campus it wouldn't be a big problem, but the small campus really does make us all more competitive. This means there is some bad blood there, but if you keep an open mind and be polite you'll find that there are more benefits to working together than not.

2nd Year Female -- Class 1921
Education Quality: A+, Campus Maintenance: D-
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Oh MCLA. Where to begin.Not so brightPsychology
Oh MCLA. Where to begin. First off Id like to say that I feel obliged to write one of these reviews because I relied on these reviews a lot when making my first college choices, and feel that they are in a way more honest and revealing than looking at a schools own website or demographics. So Id like to say thanks, to this website and the people who contribute to it, because it gives a truly honest representation of the school.

I also want to say that of course everyone is going to be biased, so I chose to write this review as neutral and will try to make it relatively unbiased but know that for me, I was born and raised in manhattan, so I was not used to the desertedness of north adams (the town at MCLA) and wanted more of a social/night life while some friends of mine born in even smaller towns came here and said this was too much of a social life for them.

The good stuff
Never, in my entire life have I met people as nice as the ones at MCLA. There is such a sense of community at this school, because of the small size, that it feels like a village where everyone knows everyone. I was so nervous when I first came here and now I know like practically everyone on campus, and the people here are extremely approachable and friendly. Ive made some damn good friends and had some crazy nights here at CLAM and it goes to show that you dont have to have a humongous school to have fulfilling social relationships.

The academics here are also very good. Since its such a small school, you get about as much hands on education as you can. All the professors are extremely nice/friendly and dedicated to helping you learn.

The Bad Stuff
Lets start with food. The food here is very, very bad. Not inedible, just horrible. The company is called aramark or something, and it basically tastes like the food was prepackaged and shipped from very far away and then taken out of the package at CLAM and then heat up. vegetables are slimy in consistency and taste like they are lacking vitamins/minerals, fruit is bitter, hamburgers are those thin ones with the weird bumps on them. Pizzas fucking delicious though, and its made right there. But I try to eat healthy, and it was just about damn near impossible here. its a shame that colleges in general dont seem to provide good nutrition to students, because it really does affect your mood.

Social life- this was the big one for me, and eventually made me decide to tranfer to SUNY Buffalo in fall 2012. When I said that the people here were nice, I meant it, but holy fucking shit balls, I have seen more social environments in a cardboard box. The place here is dead, dead, dead, and I tried to change it, I really did, when I was here. I tried to start a boxing club on campus, didnt work, although the SGA (student government association) was accommodating, lets just say they were not particularly *helpful* and after a long year of signing this and that, they decided not to fund my club because my trainer had not returned their calls for one week. We had about 90 students on the roster list, we had everything set up for equipment, yada yada... then not to mention that scam that just happened about 2 months ago... someone in the SGA was also the president of a certain club on campus, and because he was in that club, the SGA gave that club way more funding, unfair, pathetic inside job that created a shitstorm of pissed off emails to the SGA, bottom line is that here at CLAM, people do not make an active effort to create a social life. There IS a social life here, its just not really... going anywhere. I also will say here that there is ONE music club here (only one) that would get together once a week to jam/prepare for a performance. Well, no one goes to it. it stopped happening because no one in the entire college of CLAM was a part of the ONE music club. I play guitar, and have been for about 8 years, and it made me feel soo pissed and embarrased when I realized this. I mean, its a COLLEGE, and NO ONE goes to the one fucking music club??? fucking embarrassing. On top of all of this, there are NO PARTIES (or HARDLY some). Now- I know I come from the big apple and am used to warehouse parties of +200... but this is pathetic. When there are parties, theyre at a frat/ sorrority house which would be fine by me if there were INTERESTING FUCKING PEOPLE there! I mean, talk about a boring and unstimulating social night life! The only people that go to those parties are the people associated with those frats/ sorrorites. there is no place for us creative/open minded and interestingly complex people to party. Well, there was ONE fucking place that closed down due to the owners wife getting a divorce... but yea thats it. There is no like "communal" place to meet people here other than frat/sorrority parties and we all know those suck cuz they bring the stereotypical jocks and cheerleaders that are at every university. boringggggggg and embarrassing as well. When Human Beings are not able to be social, very bad shit happens. Weve all seen that episode of discovery channel when they puit the inmate in solitary confinement. That is why Im transferring-- people underestimate the power and necessity of having a good social life at college. Its been fun MCLA, but see ya later.

So- you heard me talk about food, the closeness of the community (which is a plus), the academics, and the social life (NOT to be confused with the PEOPLE who I talked about earlier who are extremely nice and approchable for 90%). These were the things that really stood out to me in an either good or bad way when I went here. But now Ill talk about everything else very briefly. Dorms are great. go to Berkshire towers if you want independence/peaceful atmosphere and go to hoosac if you wanna party. the diversity is good, there are mixed races of all but more white people than any other race, which is unfortunately true for most communities in life. the library is small but fine, the campus is pretty pretty, the gym is small but great, and if i could give you one piece of advice, it is to room in 729 in hoosac hall your first semester, take the side facing the window, and look under your bed at midnight.

easy teachers-
Robert Cialdini (chemistry) grades on a curve like nobodys business, I barely learned ANYTHING from his class and got an A-

Mark Miller (english) is a chilled out english professor who lets you rewrite your 3 essays for the class as many times as you want (they count for 75% or your grade)

Benjamin Wood (psych) is an even more chilled out former psychiatric counsler whos got awesome stories about crazy people and grades pretty easily

GOOD TEACHERSSharon Claffey- grades very hard but I NEVER learned as much in a class before I took her class. She is fucking obsessed with being organized and effectively getting information from her head into yours, and it shows

2nd Year Male -- Class 2015
Individual Value: A+, Surrounding City: F
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The location: The town of North Adams usedBrightUndecided
The location: The town of North Adams used to be hip (decades ago) and is now more run down. Most of the neighborhoods in the town seem dangerous but the town itself is more boring than anything else. The school and the town definitely try to provide students with small concerts and events to go to, but, these events aren't very successful. There is very little cell phone reception anywhere on campus because it's in the mountains, even with Verizon or AT&T. The wifi connection is also very bad. The mountains are very beautiful though and if you like the outdoors, this might be a good school for you... the issue with this is, you can't get to the mountains to hike etc. unless you have a car and freshman aren't allowed to have cars.
1st Year Female -- Class 2015
Individual Value: A, Useful Schoolwork: D+
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